Pair of Jr. Sun Devils squads show well at AZ Coyotes Cup
To ring in 2017, and for the 18th straight year, the AZ Coyotes Cup Holiday Hockey Festival took place New Year’s Weekend at the Gila River Arena, Ice Den Chandler and Ice Den Scottsdale.
For two Desert Youth Hockey Association (DYHA) Jr. Sun Devils teams, both the Bantam 03 team and Pee Wee Combo team came home to Oceanside Ice Arena with championship game appearances – the Bantams won their division by defeating the Colorado Rampage 2-1, while the Pee Wees fell 3-1 in their title game to the Flagstaff Northstars.
Head coach Zac Fryer said his Bantam 03 team has overcome its share of injuries and adversity this season.
“Our team has played well, winning three tournaments, and we have had solid team leadership with the boys playing hard for one another all season,” said Fryer. “Our locker room environment is outstanding. It is a cohesive, respectful, hilarious and determined place to be. The families that support the team are second to none. They are supportive and allow coaches the latitude to set a direction without interference. Having parents that believe in the direction of the team makes coaching a team very enjoyable.”
On New Year’s Eve in Scottsdale, the Bantams captured their latest tournament title.
“The final game was quite a challenge,” Fryer said. “We played great in the last game of the round robin and carried that over into the first period of the finals, jumping out to a 2-0 lead. From there, we played sound, defensive hockey and fought through a very physical contest and came out on top. I think the boys felt a sense of accomplishment as we had set a goal of winning three tournaments this season and achieving the goals we set as a team is very rewarding.”
The DYHA Bantam 03 team is comprised of forwards Michael Battigan (also plays defense), Jack Brown, Brody Dejong, A.J. Fryer, Ryan Green, Carson Gylling, Michael Sandviken, Jake Schmitt, Stephen Sica, Tyler Tremeroli and Kaidan Willa; defensemen Ryan Koshiol, Logan L’Heureux, Matt Ryan, Reese Tamburo and Ryan Widders; and goalies Sam Peterson and George Serbin. Joining Fryer are defensive head coach Jon Koshiol and assistant coaches Chad Bailey, Cody Gylling and Cam Johnson. Steve Sica is the team manager.
Chris Sehring’s Pee Wee squad is starting to really come around to a team concept where the players learn that the “we” is more important than the “I.”
“There is a lot to like about this team,” said Sehring, the team’s head coach. “Our players are open to listening and learning and have made a huge effort to develop as both team players and individuals. They are a lot of fun to coach and a great group to be around on or off the ice. Our families are great and without their support, our players and coaches cannot be successful. My coaching staff is dedicated and resourceful and does a great job working with the team.”
Making up the Jr. Sun Devils’ Pee Wee Combo team are forwards Weston Eby, Jaydin Feliciano, Matthew Garcia, Thomas Hickey, Declan Membrila, Jake Myerthall, Tyler Sehring, Tye Smuckler and Jackson Wall; defensemen Justin Hutchison, Keith Johnson, Kyra Mittendorf, Andrew Olkoski, Matthew Seifert and Taylor Swanson; and goalies Chase Ebeyer and Aaron Mittendorf. Assistant coaches are John Eby, David Hutchison and Marc Membrila and team manager is Jonathan Olkoski.
Even in dropping the Coyotes Cup final to Flagstaff on Dec. 31, Sehring said his team found positives.
“It showed us that when we work together as a team, we can accomplish great things and that even though we did not win it all, we still competed and played really well,” said Sehring. “This will help motivate the group for the remainder of the season and show how hard you have to work if you want to accomplish your goals.”
— Matt Mackinder